@fizziberry, 24 – FUNDED

As an LGBT variety gamer and Just Chatting streamer, @fizziberry loves to chat with her community — and her cat, Owl. But, she also is passionate about “learning to recognize patterns and implications within the media we consume and how it shapes us!” So, you might also find this BroadcastHER Grant recipient analyzing media and games and theorizing how story threads connect — that is, when she’s not writing short stories, poetry, essays, and prose or painting digitally and with acrylics.

What is your dream as a digital broadcaster?

My dream is to create a community that loves gaming, having a laugh, and is passionate about learning and analysis. I want to find other likeminded individuals who want to learn and unlearn our upbringings and behaviors, hopefully bringing more awareness of the space we occupy. I want to hold space for these conversations and curate a place to relax, goof off, have fun, and enjoy the escapism of a video game.

How will your award from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?

Gaming and online content creation have a high-cost barrier-to-entry and are expensive to maintain. 1DF allows me to invest in my present and future as a creator.

What does being a recipient mean to you?

It’s recognition for the work I’ve put into content creation — and it’s the financial backing and professional acclaim needed for marginalized people in this industry. Content creation, in general, is self-driven and the lines between part-time and a full-time, professional career are blurred. This grant invests in women’s futures and being included as one of those individuals is nothing short of an honor.

Women are underrepresented in gaming, broadcasting, and e-sports. What can we do to change this?

The barriers to entry are long. Girls are often not encouraged to play video games as children and teenagers which creates a smaller pool of women. Women in games are often not represented as full, three-dimensional people and instead are condensed into various stereotyped tropes. Women who do show an interest are also met with little internal support — yes, we do have programs, but it’s because the on-floor support is so bare that third parties have had to come in to do what the industry couldn’t. Plus, there’s harassment and a constant feeling of being an outsider up for evaluation.

We change this by acknowledging what the barriers are and allowing space for those conversations to be heard and discussed. We must encourage critical thinking and recognize our own behavioral effect (intentional or otherwise) and ask the people around us to do the same.

We need to unpack our socialized behavioral responses, including the defense mechanisms we use when confronted with difficult and complex social issues, and accept that we are limited in what we can know from our own perspective. Then, we can learn to believe others and appreciate that good intentions do not separate us from harmful repercussions and perpetuating exhausting patterns.

We change this by celebrating women in these spaces, loudly and not with empty accolades, but with real opportunities like what 1DF provides. We must create opportunities for women and recognize their underutilized technical ability, humor, talent, and experience.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

From the beginning, I’ve faced a lot of harassment. When I was in school, people doubted my interest in games was genuine or they would ridicule me. That lead me to not talk about video games publicly.

In school, I took a class to learn about programming. It felt that I didn’t belong there with all the boys and the stomach-twisting assumption from those around me that I wasn’t going to be very good at it. That led to a lot of insecurity.

It continued when I played online FPS games for the first time just before graduating high school. I didn’t have the years of practice other people did, but regardless, I was reduced to gender. When I began streaming my second year of university, all the challenges and hurdles compounded and intensified, with harassment, assumptions, all of it.

Still, I loved gaming and I loved entertainment. I grew up doing theater and I have a knack for holding people’s attention. I loved sharing my experience and I finally had a place where talking a lot was a valued skill. Despite the challenges, I pressed on.

Eventually, thanks to the women around me, I found the courage to start speaking up. Instead of making myself smaller as I had for years, I wondered what it would look like to be louder. So, here I am: louder.

What advice do you have for women who want to start broadcasting?

There is space for you here and it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. Don’t be your own first “no.” There are plenty of rejections we’ll go through in the world and tons more if we never try. Reach out to others in the industry. Show up to their spaces, participate, and take notes about what you like.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

Truthfully, I don’t always stay motivated and focused. I try to honor what “needs” need to be met when that happens. Growth for me isn’t always a pinpoint laser focus. Having ADHD has required me to unlearn what I thought productivity looks like and learn to do things in a way that works for me.

Growth can be stepping back, resting, and acknowledging what has gotten in the way. I used to try to power on through things and it would lead to overwhelming burnout. I started to take a step back and learn what was being communicated to me through a lack of focus and motivation. Knowing myself better allows me to continue towards my goals and strengthens my passion.